Here are my thoughts on what then we must do with our relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially in our dealings with the current regime. I wrote these notes on my Facebook page the day I read about the torture and murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Guardian of Mecca and the bearer of the flag that says “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” (La ilaha ILallah Muhammadar Rasul Allah). This is inscribed on a green flag, with the sword as a symbol of the tool of the spread of Islam. What then are we to do with this kingdom-orchestrated assassination, if confirmed?
Not in the name of Islam should this kind of murder be committed, not even in the name of any godless ideology, especially in times of high-speed Internet-information dissemination technologies. Down with brutal regimes! What a story to read early that morning in preparation for a lecture on “Global Issues and Complexity Theory”.
According to the news report, the Washington Post journalist was murdered because he knew too much about the Saudi royal family. He was also said to be working on a report to enhance and expand the circle of Twitter community critical of the regime of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (photo).
But what else did he know that led to his horrific murder? He was still alive when the killers dismembered him and one of them who cut him into pieces even said that he listens to music while doing this sort of thing and that others should also do the same!
But what is it that makes monarchs of this world, including in Malaysia, dislike those who know too much about their families and try to expose the world of disparity between the intellect, character and spirituality? In doing so, they put a dent into the whole idea that a “king can do no wrong” and that there are two sets of laws, even in Islam – one for the royalty and the other for the commoner.
In today’s world, the hudud may not apply to sultans but its implementation and administration on the powerless and the poor will keep the idea of the Islamic state still alive.
Therefore, Islamic leaders from the royal houses can do whatever they want that demonstrate the exact opposite of what the prophet of Islam prohibits. The sharia law and its methods of punishment must be carried out in the framework of justice in Islam, as claimed.
In a post-modern, post-truth, post-post everything age of governance, the monarchy, whether absolute or constitutional, cannot continue to plunder, rape, kill or do whatever it wishes, using the state apparatuses and instruments of authority and absurdity at their disposal while they sit gleefully on their golden thrones.
The more people know about the abuse of power in the name of the divine rights of king, the more there will be mounting dissatisfaction and ultimately disgust and mass anger that will eventually translate into an uprising and revolution. In the case of the Middle East and North Africa, that was what the “Arab Spring” was all about.
That is an example of Complexity Theory as applied to the story of the monarchy. The French Revolution, the American Revolution and the Chinese Revolution were all about that. So was the Iranian Revolution that toppled the Peacock Throne.
In the case of Malaysia, the 1988 Constitutional (or Judicial) Crisis was meant to educate Malaysians of the excesses of power, of the disparity between character and the intellect and why no one should be above the law, albeit consolidating the power of Dr Mahathir Mohamad vis-a-viz Umno.
While we were all horrified by the brutal assassination of Khashoggi, perhaps killed by his own government in the name of silencing his criticism, especially of the royalty and also of US President Donald Trump, we must also demand the truth into the murders of Altantunya Shaariibuu, Kevin Morais, Teoh Beng Hock and of what happened to the good souls that went missing – Pastor Koh, Peter Chong, Joshua and Ruth Hilmy, and Amri Che Mat (photo).
What are we to do with our own brand of brutality? Will the Pakatan Harapan government tell us the truth, especially of the missing persons? Of who were involved? Is the government an accomplice too? What is the motive behind the disappearance of Koh, Chong, Joshua and Ruth Hilmy, and Amri? If the current government is quick at investigating the 1MDB scandal and sending the filthy and the corrupt to jail, we expect it to solve the missing person mystery with urgency.
So, as a country vocal on the issues of the Palestinians and the Rohingya Muslims, in light of our commitment to be known as a champion of international human rights however lousy our records are back home, what are we to do with the Saudis? We are not selling weapons to them like the United States which sold 18 percent of its arms to Saudi Arabia. Unlike the US, our prime minister does not have any personal interest in selling luxury properties in Saudi Arabia. We are not like the US whose former president George W Bush was once best friend with the Saudi royal family.
The US invaded Iraq in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, and rebuilt the country with the help of Halliburton and other American companies. And then there was the war in Afghanistan. These two make the US military-industrial complex alive and well.
What about Malaysia? We only have perhaps some investment deals and our people go to Saudi Arabia yearly for religious tourism activities.
As for the Khashoggi case, what then must we do? Why have we not condemned the kingdom and why are we not at least hinting that we cannot tolerate being an ally with a state that carried out such brutalities in the name of Islam? Once the Turkish investigations are over, and the truth ascertained, we must make a statement, especially when it concerns the degeneration of Islamic nations.
We are too tied to religious sentimentality. Let us look at things objectively and disengage ourself from such as country as well as worshiping some brand of ideological brutality